Simple group texting using Twilio and procedural PHP.
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by @alexpgates

Here's a quick and dirty way to manage SMS groups using PHP and Twilio. This is handy for events like summer camps or other events when you want to get a message out to organizers / counselors quickly.

This code is a few years old, but it has been updated to use the latest Twilio PHP library.


  • Onboarding flow for new members
    • Users join by texting anything to the number, then following the directions.
  • Members can leave the group by sending: -stop.
  • Members can change their nicknames by sending: -name (new nickname).
  • The group administrator get alerted when members join.
  • All messages are logged in the database.
  • Messages can contain up to 1600 characters.


  • Twilio PHP library
  • A Twilio account with credits and a caller ID verified phone number.
  • PHP
  • MySQL database
  • A tolerance for procedural PHP


  • Get your account set up at Twilio and verify your number.
  • Point your SMS settings to the location of sms.php on your server.
  • Execute database_setup.sql to set up the required tables.
  • Fill in the necessary variables in settings.php.
  • Drop the Twilio PHP Library in the directory root and make sure the path at the top of sms.php is correct.
  • Send a text to your number and follow the directions to join the group.

To Do

  • This needs a better way for an admin to manage the users. Right now, you need to manage users directly in the database.
  • Yeah, it uses the depracated mysql_connect(). It should be updated to mysqli_connect() or pdo. (Updated to mysqli on 7-15-2014)


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